When you think of shoot 'em ups, the Atari VCS/2600 probably isn't the first system to enter your mind, but a surprising number of its games tasked you with shooting things. I suppose most videogames did generally back then but even so, I thought it was high time I took a look at some of the best examples available for Atari's iconic console. Many of them were clones of popular arcade machines of the time such as Space Invaders and Galaxians, naturally, but I think I've ended up with a nicely varied list in the end. Here are my choices - did I leave out your favourite?
Games-Related Top Fives Disclaimer: I've traditionally stuck to the games I know and love so far, and these game-related top fives reflect that. One of the purposes of this blog is diversify my gaming experiences, to play games I haven't played before, so I will do new game-related top fives in a few years to see how different they are!
5. Mega Mania (1982)
4. Planet Patrol (1983)
3. Stargate (1984)
2. Beamrider (1983)
Coleco version of this one before I encountered the VCS port but, while not being quite as polished as that version from a technical point of view, it's pretty darn close as far as the gameplay is concerned. At its heart it's just another single-screen shooter but the into-the-screen perspective, which looks really nice here, makes it a bit more interesting, as does the use of five fixed firing points at the bottom of the screen from which you must take out the many scary alien attackers, and the result is a challenging and very addictive blaster. It's one of those where you'll be annoyed with yourself at every lost life as it's nearly always avoidable. It's another one that offers little in the way of variety but, with 99 sectors to clear (supposedly), it's not one that you're likely to finish any time soon either. I sure can't but I keep trying anyway! It looks and sounds very arcadey too, which must've been a thrill in its day, and it still plays superbly now.
1. River Raid (1982)